Maximizing for Health and Longevity

There are to things we all know about the relationship between exercise and longevity:

  1. Exercise can increase your life expectancy.
  2. Exercise can drive back cognitive decline more than anything.

There are best exercises for every goal – whether it be stress reduction, better skin, a stronger stomach or a healthier heart. For lasting weight loss, movement in conjunction with good eating habits and consistency will always be the staple.

No doubt, the hardest part is just getting started but once you get past that, you’ll notice a difference between your expectations and reality. The other 23 hours of the day is where it goes all wrong.

Look at your food.
Seriously, go look at it, that’s where our health starts. Whatever goes into our body is reflected on the outside… sooner or later. The trick is to eat foods that fuel the development and retention of lean muscle, while minimizing added sugars and unhealthy carbs.

If your focus is on weight loss, the make-up of each pound lost is typically 3/4 fat, 1/4 muscle. The best way to protect and prevent loss of lean tissue is to eat roughly 1 gram of lean protein per-pound of  Lean Muscle Level (LML), every day.

Here’s the reality: 1 lbs of chicken breast = roughly 139 grams of protein.

If your LML is 139 lbs and you only ate chicken, you would need to eat 1 lb of it throughout the day. That’s a lot of food.

Take a peek at where you’re at now by keeping a food journal for 4-6 weeks. During the first two weeks, identify any gaps in protein then fill the hole.

In addition to gaps in protein, you may or may not recognize gaps in necessary vitamins and minerals your body needs for fuel — but you’re not alone. The average adult in the U.S. consumes only about 30% of the daily recommendation.

And that’s why most physicians recommend a multi-vitamin and fish oil. 

Consider all of these options when you make your food decisions and of course, minimize unhealthy carbs and added sugar. Don’t overlook closing gaps with dietary support.

Movement.
Movement is the reason a person at the age of 65 can still touch their toes. Walk a full round of golf pain free. Dance at their kids wedding and be there to watch their grandkids take that first step. Movement is life.

Nutrition can only take you so far. You cannot keep up your lean muscle mass without proper strength training. And high levels of lean muscle mass increase your metabolism, which in turn, helps you lose weight and keep it off.

It also keeps you heart healthy and your body ache free.

Koko has a system that specifically targets development of lean muscle mass and an outlet where functional training can keep you moving like you should so you can look great, feel strong and do all the things you love, longer.

The fountain of youth is here and the equation is simple.

Exercise + Right Nutrition = A long and healthy life.

-Nick Konarski
COO & Master FitCoach, Koko FitClub

Get Back to Schooled on Fitness Habits

 Back to School Mom and Daughter Backpacks2

Every grown-up has a similar pang of nostalgia — or panic — when summer fades into fall and kids start heading back to school.

Going back to school each September is such a significant part of our formative years. Being a student is the time when most of us develop our strongest organizational and other positive habits, building the blocks that prime us for a lifetime of continuous learning and personal achievement.

So, it’s no wonder that we feel this annual urge to make positive change and shift from lazy days of summer to a more productive and structured routine. That is what puts many of us in the perfect mindset come autumn to start — or restart — healthy fitness and nutrition habits.

Here are a few ways you can feel like a kid again and apply some healthy back to school strategies to your fitness and nutrition plan.

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Reinvent Yourself For Summer

reinventyourselfblog

What does it mean to reinvent yourself?

Most believe it must come from some kind of drastic behavioral change, that is not true.

Even small superficial changes can have long-reaching positive effects.

When you have a true reboot opportunity, there is no preconceived social identity to fight. You can be anything you think you can reasonably pull off.

For example, a makeover takes an afternoon, and once you are in new clothes and a new haircut, and navigate a first day at a new place with an uncomfortable “put on” personality, you grow into that personality like it’s a new pair of shoes.

Here’s 3 easy ways to reinvent yourself.

TRAVEL AND ADVENTURE

Imagine what experiencing different cultures will do for your psyche and personal development.

There is nothing more prominent than the sheltered and oblivious mindset inherent in the people of first world countries or developed urban cities.

Breaking those barriers and going out and experiencing the world is certainly the best way to open up your heart to not only different ways of life, but the individual struggles of underprivileged areas and families.

If this experiential journey doesn’t give you a newfound appreciation for life, then who knows what will. Seeing what the rest of the world has to offer or how other countries work create a much more well-rounded person. It turns you into someone who has seen and understands strife, has learned to love themselves and the differences of cultures, nationalities, and religions.

There is a positive intrinsic change in who you are as a person after seeing your fair share of the world.

Break out of your secluded shell of a world, get out there and experience nature, people, food, culture, and struggle. You may not achieve full Enlightenment (as the buddhists will say), but you will definitely become a far more enlightened person.

Life is all about perspective.

CHANGE YOUR PHYSICAL APPEARANCE

One of the easiest ways to reinvent yourself is to change a constant in your life. That constant can be your clothes, your make-up, your muscles, the way you talk, etc. Anything about your person or body that can be changed through altering habit.

The most common way we’ve noticed is changing your hair or your body.

A lot of people feel that their personalities tie directly with how they wear their hair. Different hair can mean a different persona – a whole new you (which could actually end up being the REAL you all along).

Blonde, brunette, short, long, shaved, mohawks, and mullets. Do what you’ve always wanted to do (although we strongly recommend against a mullet…)!

A person’s body image can also be a serious insecurity or hinderance in an individual’s life. Not socially, but personally.

Being too skinny, or too overweight, or too weak is only a perspective observation. Here at Koko we believe you should be happy no matter how you look, as long as you feel good and are living a healthy lifestyle!

Going to the gym, getting regular exercise, and eating right can have a drastic effect on who you become as a person. You can go from an Xbox junkie to mud run competitor in a matter of months, all you need is the drive and want to make a change.

The gym can inspire and give hope to people who have never been all too physical or athletic. It’s one of the biggest disposition adjusters at your disposal!

Change yourself physically, live differently, and watch how the new you flourishes.

SPIRITUAL GROWTH

Spirituality is not religion. It’s not a belief and it’s not learn through texts.

In general, it includes a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves, and it typically involves a search for meaning in life. As such, it is a universal human experience—something that touches us all.

Amy R. Krentzman, MSW, PhD

Finding who you are in the universe, your place and what you are meant to accomplish has always been the never-ending quest of philosophers, religious leaders, free thinkers, authors, and poets.

The thing is that spiritual growth is an individualistic journey. You don’t need a deep-thinker to tell you who you are and what you’re meant for, that is for you to find out and you to own.

Meditation and yoga are good tools to use to calm your mind and become ‘at peace.’ It is said that this steady state of mind is the only way to really recognize who you are or to become one with the world and achieve true enlightenment (or ‘nirvana’).

However, not all soul searching is done as a buddhist monk. Becoming more spiritual or developing a spiritual life is open to interpretation. It can be as simple as switching from a 9-5 office job, to becoming a watercolor artist because that’s who you are and that’s what you life to do.

As long as what you are doing makes you a better and happier person, brings you closer to who you believe you truly are as a person, and helps you fin your place in the world.. then that thing can considered spiritual growth.

Maybe we’ll never know the meaning of life, but at least we can discover and grow with the  things that have meaning in OUR OWN lives.

Reinventing yourself is not an easy thing to do. But, if you don’t like where or who you are, then something has to change. Everybody deserves to be happy and if you’re having trouble making a change then seek help.

Get a hairdresser friend to chop your hair, find a coach to help you get started on your fitness journey, or seek out a meditation class or a book to help you get started.

No matter what you do, new experience change who you are for the better. Never stop growing and never stop being yourself.

And, as always Stay Koko Strong!

Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Officer, Koko FitClub, LLC

Interested in Koko?
Try 30 days of complete fitness and coaching for just $30.


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Why You Should Include Supersets in Your Routine

superset-blog

BUT FIRST… WHAT ARE THEY?

AboutSports.com defines a superset as “a combination of one exercise performed right after the other with no rest in between them.”

You’ll hear the term thrown around a lot by gym rats and fitness junkies trying to pump as much blood to their muscles as possible. But the truth is, they are a valuable asset to any fitness plan!

Supersets are amazing for gaining muscularity and building base strength. You can use them to vary your muscle movements or to hyper-target a particular muscle or muscle group.

If you really want to define and tone your body, supersets will get you there in half the time. Especially when combined with interval cardio training for optimal body fat loss.

5 TYPES OF SUPERSETS

1. Pre-Exhaustion

The most popular (and some say the most effective) type of superset is a pre-exhaustion. This is when you perform an isolation exercise on a particular muscle and then switch to a compound exercise for that same muscle.

The purpose of these is to exhaust the muscle being worked as quickly as possible, so that when it comes time to do the compound exercise, you have to engage more surrounding muscle fibers to push through the reps. These build stability and help stretch surrounding fascia tissue for muscle growth.

2. Compound Supersets

Compound supersets are of the same breed as pre-exhaustion, however both exercises are compound movements on the same muscle or muscle group. The benefit of these is crazy muscle growth.

They can be dangerous though, the more you shock your nervous system, the sloppier your form will get and sloppy form can lead to injuries. Koko intentionally leaves these types of supersets out of their workout plans to reduce injury risk.

3. Isolated Supersets

These are also in the same family as pre-exhaustion and compound supersets. Im sure you can guess how these are performed…

Two isolating exercises are performed back to back. The most common example would be a tricep pushdown coupled with kickbacks. These types of exercises will define the heck out of your muscles. Huge drawbacks however are the small gain in mass and minimal strength increase.

Strength and weight control are more important than ‘show’ muscles. These supersets are typically used by body-builders pre-contest to help cut out their shape and not necessarily for an overall health boost.

4. Opposing Muscle Group Supersets

Koko incorporates 2 forms of supersets into its programs. The first of which are opposing muscle group supersets. These supersets are one part isolation or compound exercise and second part isolation or compound exercise of the direct opposite muscle or muscle group.

Here is an example… You do 8 controlled reps of bicep cable curls (isolation) and then do 8 reps of a tricep pushdown with minimal resting time. According to Bodybuilding.com:

“[These exercises are] extremely effective because while one muscle is working, the other is resting. Since this type of superset allows your muscle to rest for a short period, it will allow you to build strength, as well as size.”

It also keeps the blood pumping in the same area of your body throughout the duration of the set. Strength gains for days!

5. Staggered Sets Supersets

Try saying that 5 times fast… These are when you combine a movement with a major muscle with a smaller and completely unrelated muscle.

A good example of this is to go from seated rows that work all of your back muscles and biceps to weighted calf raises.

The biggest benefit of these is that it is essentially a get-rich-quick scheme to bringing your underdeveloped muscles up to par with the rest of your body.

Someone who has not gone to the gym in a while most likely has disproportionate muscle strengths. Mixing in staggered supersets allows your smaller, undeveloped muscles to catch up to the ones you truly wish to focus on. Koko uses these sets to keep your muscles guessing. Shocking your system like this is a gateway to total body development, overall strength gain, and peak physical health.

SO… WHY SHOULD YOU BE DOING THESE?

There are benefits to each type of superset. However, they all share 3 common advantages. These advantages are also some of the key elements to a Koko workout and what gives our Koko system the ability to fit into your daily life.

First things first, making a workout out of supersets and circuits will help you finish your workout in a fraction of the time of other gym goers. The reason for this is simply because you are performing your workouts back to back and not resting 1-2 minutes in between. The time cut doesn’t sound like a lot, but adding it all up can knock a half hour off your gym time easy.

Performing your exercises back to back does more than shorten your gym time. It keeps your heart rate elevated for the duration of the workout. This means you’ll burn fat faster than a your typical ‘exercise, rest, repeat’ routine.

That elevated heart rate – when sustained throughout your workout – also provides aspike in your metabolism to keep you burning more calories all day long.

The bottom line is, supersets are an important thing to consider when developing workout plans. Some will help build strength, some will help you burn fat, and some will just simply make you look good! However, all will help you achieve proper body development.

Start with light weights first in order to assess your ability to perform these supersets. You can always find great coach as well. A Coach can show you how to perform these safely and include these in your routine the right way to achieve the goals you’re striving for.

Stay Koko Fit!

Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Officer, Koko FitClub, LLC

Interested in Koko?
Try 30 days of complete fitness and coaching for just $30.


GET 30 DAYS OF FITNESS FOR $30

How To Train For A Mud Run

mudrun blog

Ahh the glorious mud run. 

A community event where fitness lovers and adventurers come together to run miles through a series of exhausting, fun, and sometimes scary obstacles. They even throw in tons of free mud to frolic in along the way!

Mud Runs have become increasingly popular among all age groups. The intrinsic value received from completing such a physically demanding task is unmatched. It’s simply the ultimate way to test yourself, challenge yourself, and try to better yourself.

75% of a mud run is preparation. Here is our take on basic conditioning for yours.

CARDIO

The thing about a mud run is that… well… it’s a race. The number one thing to start conditioning for is the large amount of running you will be enduring. Typically the races are around 3-5 miles, but some go as far as 10 miles.

Cardio training to improve endurance is big. Now, you don’t have to be a marathon runner, but you should be able to hoof it on the treadmill for at least 3 miles without hyperventilating.

The good part about mud runs is that you can go at your own pace. So find your pace and base your training around that.

Make sure to switch up the settings to vary your movement patterns. You need to be able to adapt to hills, rough terrain, mud, concrete and gravel while running. Koko‘s cardio programs vary your workouts through intervals, varying speeds, and adjusting incline. You want well-rounded conditioning so you can tackle various terrains.

DIVERSE MOVEMENTS AND DYNAMIC EXERCISES

Mud runs are not a strength contest. The point is to test your abilities on all types of physical obstacles. Climbing, running, crawling, jumping, swinging, and swimming are all  movements that require total body development. And these are the types of movements you’ll be doing, not pushing 200lbs on a bench.

Circuit training is your best friend. It’s perfect for full development and to really get your heart rate up.

It also helps your body adapt to various weight distributions as well as conditions it to switching quickly between different movements. That’s why Koko makes up almost all of its custom workouts through circuits and controlled reps. Koko X specifically focuses onfree, natural movements. Precisely like the ones needed to complete a mud run.

DON’T GO IT ALONE

Mud runs are meant to be done with a team. They are your support and backbone through the whole thing. When you think you’re about to quit and can’t push on anymore, your team will be there to tell you – “you got this!”

Train with your team and your community. Whether it is to be fitter, healthier, to raise endurance, or to build strength, reaching for a goal together will be the motivation and support you need. 

Train together, finish together. 

Don’t worry – mud runs come in all shapes and sizes, as well as varying levels of difficulties. It is up to you to judge which ones are a proper fit.

Find the one you like, assess the time you have until the race, and develop a workout plan to reach the goals necessary to complete the race with flying colors.

Work on the things you know you need to work on.

The biggest obstacle is your own brain. Don’t let the idea of a mud run freak you out. Get excited, get pumped, and train as best you can. Remember, these runs are not pitting people against each other. They are here for fun, to test your limits, and to do it alongside others so at the end you can all say “We did this!”

Last but not least – don’t underestimate yourself. You and your body are capable of amazing things. Go out there, crush your mud run, and exceed your own expectations.

Stay Koko Fit!

Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Officer, Koko FitClub, LLC

Interested in Koko?
Try 30 days of complete fitness and coaching for just $30.


GET 30 DAYS OF FITNESS FOR $30